The State Legislature is slowly edging towards agreement on a budget as state lawmakers agreed to Governor Paterson's emergency bill which has $775 million in cuts and other actions in the state's health care budget, a move that keeps the government open for another week. Of course, the Times Union notes how one Assembly member called it "gubernatorial blackmail," because of how hard it'll hit hospitals.

The Assembly voted 85-44 and the Senate voted 32-36 for the cuts; a total of $56 billion is spent on health care each year (40% of the state's overall budget). The NY Times reports, "Because cutting the state’s health care spending means forgoing some federal matching subsidies, the cuts are likely to have an even deeper impact than the stated total. The Greater New York Hospital Association, which represents many institutions in the New York City region, estimated that the state cuts would cost hospitals and other providers an additional $250 million or so in federal money."

Albany was facing a shut down because, after two months, the Legislature still hasn't passed a budget. Paterson is expected to offer up big education and local government cuts in future budget extender bills, but some lawmakers say they won't vote for the next ones.